Best Colleges for Hispanic Students of 2021

These colleges have a high number of Hispanic students in attendance and have programs and offerings dedicated to Hispanic and Latino/a heritage.

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by Staff Writers

Published on September 2, 2021 · Updated on April 11, 2022

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Hispanic students increased their college enrollment numbers significantly between 2000 and 2018, and continuing efforts are being carried out to improve these numbers further. For example, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) have worked to help these learners gain access to better support systems and educational environments.

The top colleges for Hispanic students offer a combination of specialized educational options, support services, and campus programs. They host events and house research and resource centers that celebrate and immerse students in Latino/a cultures.

The following section includes a ranked list of the best colleges for Hispanic students. To create this ranking, we used our standard methodology to find schools that excel academically. Our team then compared that list to the 313 HACU-member schools in the U.S. to find the best schools for Hispanic, Latino/a, and Chicano/a students.

Read on to learn more about the best colleges for Hispanic students and what makes them special.

Top Accredited Colleges for Hispanic Students

Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

Best Colleges for Hispanic Students

  1. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL

    Founded in Orlando in 1963, UCF enrolls nearly 72,000 students. Over 48% of its undergraduate student body is made up of people of color, including almost 20,000 Hispanic/Latino students. In 2017, UCF was recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

    UCF offers a Latin American studies major and minor and a Latin media certificate. Since 1985, the university has housed organizations like the Latin American Student Association, the Latino Faculty and Staff Association, and the Puerto Rican Student Association.

  2. Carlos Albizu University-Miami

    Miami, FL

    Since 1966, AU has been one of the leading colleges for Hispanic students. With three campuses in Puerto Rico and Miami, AU enrolls more than 2,000 students — over 90% of whom are Hispanic/Latino. The university offers specialized support services and resources for non-English speakers.

    At AU's Miami campus, the predominantly Hispanic student population can participate in various student clubs and workshops, including the Catholic club and social justice events. AU also boasts educational relationships with the University of Puerto Rico and the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, as well as with partnerships with Hispanic Educational Technology Services, Asociación de Psicología de Puerto Rico, and Consorcio de Bibliotecas Metropolitanas.

  3. University of California-Irvine

    Irvine, CA

    UCI was founded in 1965 and has since grown into one of the top colleges for Hispanic students in the country. Hispanic/Latino students represent more than 25% of its undergraduate student body of 30,000 learners. Recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, UCI oversees a Department of Chicano/Latino Studies, which offers various courses and programs focusing on Hispanic cultures.

    At UCI, students have access to more than 25 Hispanic student organizations, including the Latin American Student Organization, the Latino Business Student Association, and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan. UCI also houses a cross-cultural center and offers several scholarship and mentorship programs for Hispanic students.

  4. California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA

    Since opening in 1949, CSULB has become one of the nation's largest and best colleges for Hispanic students. Hispanic/Latino students made up 44% of the university's undergraduate population as of 2019. CSULB students have access to a diverse collection of courses and programs offered through the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies.

    In 2005, CSULB opened the Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training to better support the surrounding Hispanic communities. Additionally, the school's HSI-STEM program offers educational and financial aid opportunities to Hispanic students interested in STEM fields. Learners also can join student organizations like the Hispanic Students Business Association and Latinx Student Union.

  5. San Diego State University

    San Diego, CA

    The oldest university in San Diego, SDSU was founded in 1897 and now serves more than 36,000 students. SDSU's undergraduate student body consists primarily of students of color, including roughly 10,000 Hispanic/Latino students. The university offers majors and minors in Latin American studies at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

    SDSU's Hispanic students can access the Latinx Resource Center and other support services and financial aid programs. The university's organizations include several groups specifically for Hispanic students, including Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine, the Latin American Studies Student Organization, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at SDSU.

  6. Florida International University

    Miami, FL

    The only public research university in Miami, FIU is also among the largest predominantly Hispanic colleges. Roughly two-thirds of FIU's undergraduate student body of almost 50,000 learners identify as Hispanic/Latino.

    In 1979, FIU established the Latin American and Caribbean Center, which offers bachelor's and master's degrees, certificates, and various resources. Students also can join organizations like the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Student Organization and the Association of Latino Professionals for America.

  7. California State University-Fullerton

    Fullerton, CA

    Cal State Fullerton has a total student enrollment of roughly 41,000 learners. Over 45% of its undergraduates are Hispanic/Latino. To better serve its large Hispanic student body, the university established the Latinx Community Resource Center. It provides targeted support services and programs and helps organize campus events like Latinx Heritage Month.

    Cal State Fullerton offers a Latin American studies major, minor, and a scholarship program, along with seven other scholarship programs for Hispanic students. Students may also join over 10 Hispanic student organizations, including the Latin American Studies Student Association and Central Americans for Empowerment.

  8. University of California-Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara, CA

    UC Santa Barbara has become one of the leading colleges for Hispanic students, with about 25% of its 23,000 undergraduates identifying as Hispanic/Latino. The university offers resources and academic outlets geared toward these learners, including departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Chicana/o studies.

    Additionally, UC Santa Barbara's campus houses the Chicano Studies Institute and the Cultural Resource Center, along with a targeted career services and student centers. UC Santa Barbara's students can join organizations like the Chicanx Latinx Graduation and Latino Business Association.

  9. CUNY Hunter College

    New York, NY

    Hunter enrolls more than 6,000 graduate and 17,000 undergraduate students. This includes over 5,000 undergraduate learners who identify as Hispanic/Latino. Hunter students can pursue courses and programs in Latin American and Caribbean studies and Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino studies.

    Through the on-campus Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter provides learners with access to many resources shared within the City University of New York system. Hunter's students also can access CUNY's centers for Latin American and Caribbean studies and Latino studies.

  10. California State University-San Bernardino

    San Bernardino, CA

    CSUSB opened in 1965 and has since grown into one of the best colleges for Hispanic students. The school educates more than 12,000 Hispanic undergraduates each year. CSUSB also has become one of the top schools in terms of graduating Hispanic students.

    CSUSB's students enjoy access to programs and courses in Latin American studies, as well as various resources and events hosted by the LatinX Cultural Center. Other student organizations include the Association of Latino Faculty, Staff, and Students; Acto Latino; and the Latino Student Business Association.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges for Hispanic Students

What are HACU schools? true

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents the majority of the nation's Hispanic-Serving Institutions. HSIs are schools where Hispanic learners make up at least 25% of the student population. HACU represents more than 300 schools across the country.

Which colleges are Hispanic/Latino-friendly? true

Many colleges feature a diverse student population and provide services and support for learners from all backgrounds. However, due to their large Hispanic representation, HSIs tend to offer more specialized services, programs, and events. Prospective students can locate HSIs in HACU's database.

Are there any Hispanic-only colleges

While many schools feature a predominantly Hispanic population, no schools restrict access to other races and ethnicities. However, in many schools in Puerto Rico, such as the University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo, Hispanic students make up 100% of the student population, according to Excelencia in Education.

What university has the largest Hispanic population?

With more than 32,000 Hispanic students, Florida International University boasts the largest population of Hispanic learners in the U.S.

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